Web fonts

Web fonts allow web designers to choose custom fonts for the design of the website. They are downloaded by the browser when a user visits the website. Without web fonts, designers can only use fonts locally installed on the visitor’s computer. Which fonts are installed locally depends on the operating system of the visitor, so the designer can only guess or use the browsers default.

Disadvantages

  • Because they have to be downloaded at least on the first visit of the site, their use increases page load time and the amount of bytes transferred.
  • Depending on how their are used and on the network speed, the displayed font might change from a default to the web font when it is finally loaded, or the text is invisible until then. Both which is visually unpleasing.
  • There is also the risk that the use of web fonts from external services might collide with privacy regulations like Europe’s GDPR.

The problem with increased page load time and amount of bytes transferred increases with every web font used.

While usually being loaded only on the first visit of the website and cached by the browser for the session, they might contribute a great share of bytes transferred.

Advice

  • Choose a WordPress theme that uses few or no web fonts or at least allows you to disable them. You might have to ask the author to get information about this.
  • Ask your theme designer to use default fonts or at least as few web fonts as possible.
  • Ask a WordPress developer to disable the use of web fonts for your theme.
  • Use our WordPress plugin‘s “Disable web fonts” recipe to disable web fonts for your theme (if supported).

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